Alan Shearer has named his England squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and has included the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Ben White and Callum Wilson in his 26-man crop.
England boss Gareth Southgate is scheduled to name his Three Lions squad on Thursday. However, Monday is the definitive deadline for FIFA to be handed the 26 names.
Shearer has unsurprisingly named Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope as England’s goalkeepers for the tournament. However, there were some interesting calls from the former England striker for the remaining 23 places.
Shearer included White in his preferred England squad when speaking to The Athletic. Injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James and Tyrone Mings’ as opened up at least one space in the Three Lions squad and Shearer believes White deserves it.
Shearer also questioned the form of Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold. He said Kieran Trippier is one of the first defenders on the team sheet at the moment.
Therefore, he thinks the squad could benefit from White’s inclusion. He says the 25-year-old is ‘full of belief at Arsenal’ – having made his debut for the club in their 2-0 defeat to Brentford on the opening day of last season.
Speaking about the defensive line, Shearer said: ‘It’s not just about questionable fitness — it’s about form, too. With Kyle Walker it’s fitness, with Harry Maguire it’s form and a lack of game time — one start in the league for Manchester United since August.
‘It’s form for Eric Dier, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold. Kieran Trippier must be one of the first defenders on the team sheet at the moment, while Ben White is full of belief at Arsenal, but there are some big calls to be made here.’
In terms of the midfield, Shearer has decided to selected Ward-Prowse as a ‘squad player’ as says it’s Kalvin Phillips will return to full fitness in time. He has also included James Maddison in his 26-man squad.
He said: ‘I’m going with what I know right now, but this means there are a couple of caveats. I’ve chosen James Ward-Prowse as a squad player — given his delivery from free kicks and other set pieces would provide a different option — but if Kalvin Phillips can prove his fitness, which I now very much doubt, the Southampton man would come out.
‘Similarly, if Kyle Walker isn’t ready, I’d probably add another midfielder in West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen. James Ward-Prowse is a good bet for Gareth Southgate’s England squad.’
Shearer went on to speak about the forward line. He decided to leave out Brentford’s Ivan Toney and go for Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson instead. He said taking a good penalty is not enough to warrant Toney a place in the squad.
He also aired his concerns over Toney’s physicality on the pitch. He said referees at the highest level may not take kindly to his aggression. It is a valid point considering Toney has been suspended for reaching five yellow cards in the Premier League.
Shearer said: ‘In attack, I’ve left out Brentford’s Ivan Toney and gone for Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson. I understand that if England are to win the World Cup they’re almost certain to have to win a penalty shootout somewhere down the line.
‘I understand the clamour for Toney to be involved, but I’d be a bit concerned about how his physicality might be viewed by referees at the highest level. Wilson has longstanding fitness issues but has been brilliant for Newcastle United.’